New Developer Eyes Toll Brothers’ Old Gowanus Site


Big news for the shores of the Gowanus Canal: NYC development firm The Lightstone Group intends to develop the old Gowanus Toll Brothers site, between the Gowanus Canal, Bond Street, Carroll Street and Second Street. Someone from Community Board Six tells us that at the last land-use meeting, “It was announced that a developer has stepped forward and is planning to build 700 units on the formerly Toll Brothers’ Gowanus site. The developer didn’t speak before the committee… They have approached [District Manager] Craig Hammerman and will first meet with Craig, Peter Fleming the committee chair and Daniel Kummer the board chair. They will be seeking more allowances that will demand a ULURP hearing. I think they will be seeking more height in a trade for 20 percent affordable.” Craig Hammerman confirmed the Lightstone Group wants to develop the site but said he had no more specifics. However, the developers are expected to bring a formal land-use action to Community Board Six for public review this fall. And the board asked that the developers brief CB6 and the community on their plans during the next meeting on Thursday, August 23rd. “What we’ve heard so far raises a lot of questions,” Hammerman said, “And right now we have an information vacuum that we can hopefully fill with facts.” Toll Brothers scrapped the plans for a massive, 605,380-square-foot development after the Gowanus Canal was designated a superfund site. According to public records, the land hasn’t transferred over to a new entity. Of course, it’s worth noting that it will take a minimum of ten years to relieve the Gowanus Canal of its Superfund status.
Toll Brothers Sued Over Gowanus Acquisition [Brownstoner]

9 Comment

  • Interesting. Some neighbors received an email from a concerned resident about this dated June 12th. The email spells out the details including more height and 20% affordability. The writer also indicated that they had left messages for Craig Hammerman but those calls were not returned. In a June 14th email Craig said he had never heard of the person who wrote the email, that CB 6 was not aware of any new plans, and they had never heard of the Lightstone Group and that the sender had misrepresented the facts as to CB 6′s involvement. Seems to me, in hindsight, that the sender was on the money.

  • Interesting. Some neighbors received an email from a concerned resident about this dated June 12th. The email spells out the details including more height and 20% affordability. The writer also indicated that they had left messages for Craig Hammerman but those calls were not returned. In a June 14th email Craig said he had never heard of the person who wrote the email, that CB 6 was not aware of any new plans, and they had never heard of the Lightstone Group and that the sender had misrepresented the facts as to CB 6′s involvement. Seems to me, in hindsight, that the sender was on the money.

  • The mysterious email that was sent in June – supposedly sent by a “Bruce Weinstein” – was grossly inaccurate. I appreciated that Linda Mariano had the good sense to check in with me personally before jumping to any wild conclusions.

    First and foremost, no one had reached out to me, nor to our district office, about this site. No emails, telephone calls, nor message of any sort was left for me. No information had been passed along to us. Nothing. I stand by my prior statement.

    After issuing my response I received an even more mysterious phone call from someone referring to himself as “Bruce Weinstein” who denied ever having written to me in the first place which, I thought, was even more strange.

    Then a couple weeks ago I received another phone call from the representative for The Lightstone Group who told me of their intentions for the site. This was the first time I had ever heard of The Lightstone Group. At that time I requested that before this item is certified for public review that they consider coming in to brief us and the community before we are faced with a ticking 60-day public review timeclock.

    We have followed this practice of arranging Informational Presentations for other large-scale development projects in the district (like the IKEA and the Fairway projects, for example) because we have found that by hosting a briefing prior to a formal public hearing that we are able to receive higher quality and more to-the-point testimony from concerned parties as a result.

    Furthermore, our Land Use Committee Chair had announced at our last committee meeting held on July 26th that we had been contacted about this site and alerted the committee (as reported in this Brownstoner blog entry) that we are in the process of arranging for a public briefing in anticipation of a formal land use action that we are expecting to review this Fall.

    I honestly don’t know what the origin of the mysterious email and followup phone call from “Bruce Weinstein” is about, and have no means by which I can followup further, but thought that the sequence and timeline of events was important since it seems “Gowanusdog” (whomever that is) is calling our/my credibility into question.

    Where the community is concerned we will continue to provide access to firsthand factual information so that we can facilitate a thoughtful, intelligent review process that has become a hallmark of this Community Board that I take great pleasure in serving.

  • wjcohen

    The community certainly hopes the review process is thoughtful and intelligent this time around. CB6 did support the Toll project even though Toll wavered on its promise to build the affordable units (http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/7/32_7_bm_toll_bros.html) and the EPA alleged Toll never investigated contamination on that site that “could have put people in peril” (http://therealdeal.com/blog/2011/06/02/feds-toll-brothers-could-have-put-people-in-peril-at-gowanus-site/)

    Building even larger than 12 stories with the lure of affordable housing goes against the entire point of the Carroll Gardens rezoning which capped a height limit of 50″. This tower would loom over the entire neighborhood. Even 12 stories (toll proposal) was too large a footprint for this narrow site.

    There certainly needs to be development here – but the city is in the driver’s seat. This is a desirable area so the city shouldn’t have to ruin the neighborhood with needless giveaways.

  • homegirl

    This is terrible news. No sooner have we gotten the horrible, overheight eyestore on Carroll Street taken down and kept to the height restrictions, then a company is going to come and create buildings 1/2 a block away that are so much taller? Please, Craig, don’t let them do this. This would really, really be horrible for this neighborhood.

  • homegirl

    This is terrible news. No sooner have we gotten the horrible, overheight eyestore on Carroll Street taken down and kept to the height restrictions, then a company is going to come and create buildings 1/2 a block away that are so much taller? Please, Craig, don’t let them do this. This would really, really be horrible for this neighborhood.

  • We need to be sensitive to the existing uses around the Canal, a strong message that commercial and mixed use, are just as welcome and just as profitable, perhaps more so given the fact that residential development would require hugh zoning changes and strain the infrastructure of this area to an extreme. the conflict caused between residential and commercial uses in this area would lessen the quality of life for both types of existing uses..Could someone explain why a commercial type of Live/Work would not only prosper and thrive here, but would also spark a creative, professional, and entertainment boom for our community? Residential development has been overdone and under thought for to long.

  • We need to be sensitive to the existing uses around the Canal, a strong message that commercial and mixed use, are just as welcome and just as profitable, perhaps more so given the fact that residential development would require hugh zoning changes and strain the infrastructure of this area to an extreme. the conflict caused between residential and commercial uses in this area would lessen the quality of life for both types of existing uses..Could someone explain why a commercial type of Live/Work would not only prosper and thrive here, but would also spark a creative, professional, and entertainment boom for our community? Residential development has been overdone and under thought for to long.